CAT 2021 will be held in November 2021.
Preparation Tips : That extra edge you need
CAT is an exam that is being taken by more than 2 lakhs of students but only few hundred are lucky enough to get into the Top Ranking Institutes. This is not because they are made up of some different skin and different blood flows into their vessel, it’s just that they have that extra edge in them.
Anyone can have or develop that extra edge. What’s needed is just a rendezvous with yourself. Ask yourself several questions and answer them as well:
When should I start preparing for CAT 2021?
As we have always suggested, there is no right time to start preparing for any exam. Once you have decided to have a go for CAT, there is no point in waiting for an auspicious moment for the preparation to begin. Start NOW.
What is the pre-requisites/eligibility for CAT and admission to IIMs and other B-Schools?
Anyone who has completed or is in the final year of his/her bachelor's degree (Any stream: Engineering, medicine, humanities, sciences etc) can take the exam.
Is CAT a tough exam?
Any exam is tough if you do not prepare. The CAT exams test the caliber of a person to handle and juggle things by throwing at him/her difficulties that only the best-prepared mind can handle. This is done because this is what is expected by a manager of a company to do, and all CAT aspirants are future managers only.
What is the pattern of the CAT exam?
One of the reasons why CAT is considered tough is that the pattern changes from year to year. In the 1990s, it was a four-section test with English making up the major chunk. However, from 1999, CAT has become a three-section exam with English taking up just one third of the total paper.
The pattern form the last three years is of a computer – based test. A candidate has to register and then he/she is allotted a centre, a specific date and time as well and when the candidate arrives at the centre, a computer machine is prepared for the candidate.
Since the inception of this computer – based CAT, there are only two sections in CAT paper now. Quantitative Ability & Data Interpretation and Verbal Ability & Logical Reasoning.
Do all questions carry equal marks?
Yes, all questions carried equal marks last year, so we can hope that same pattern will be repeated this time as well.
Are wrong answers penalized with negative marking?
Yes. A wrong answer costs you one-third of the total marks for the question. That is, if a question carries four marks, then you get – 1 mark (note the negative sign) for the wrong answer.
How do I prepare for the various sections in the CAT paper?
Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension: The basic requirement for both these sections is a good vocabulary and a strong sense of grammar.
Ability to read fast would be an added advantage. In the first three months of preparation, you should spend a lot of time on improving your vocabulary and reading speed.
As the questions can be from any general topic -- economics, psychology, philosophy, sociology, politics, medicine, science, culture, arts, etc -- it is important to inculcate good reading habits.
Quantitative ability: You have to be very good at numbers and geometry. The best way to prepare for this section is to pick up a guide on Quantitative Ability and start working on the basics.
Make it a goal that in the next three months, you have to complete the basics of all topics CAT covers.
The typical CAT Quantitative Ability questions are based on simple equations, ratio proportion and variation, percentage, profit and loss, numbers, indices, logs and surds, averages, mixtures and alligations, quadratic equations, progressions, time and work, time and distance, geometry and mensuration, permutations and combinations, probability, special equations, inequalities, number systems, functions and graphs, coordinate geometry and miscellaneous math logic.
Data Interpretation: In the last three years, DI is becoming more and more reasoning and logic oriented rather than pure mathematical calculation oriented as many think it to be. However, to start your DI preparations, it is important to improve your speed-calculation techniques. You should be thorough with tables up to 20, fractions, squares and cubes of numbers. In addition, learn the techniques of speed-multiplication and division. Once, you are thorough with these areas, then taking up the different types of DI sets and working on them would be a simple and effective way of starting your preparations.
Is it important to join a coaching class?
Coaching classes cannot guarantee you an IIM seat. But even M S Dhoni needs a batting coach; so would a good coach help to get the best out of you or not has to be decided by you.
By joining a coaching class, what you would be getting is proper direction in terms of preparation and readymade material prepared exactly as per the CAT requirements.
How many hours every day must I study?
There is no one single ideal number of hours that one should prepare. It all depends on your ability and the state of your preparedness. If you start your preparation early, about an hour a day would give you a good start. Similarly, when you start say in May/June, then about two hours per day may be required. And if you start in August / September, then even four hours a day may be less.
Are there any books to help me prepare for CAT?
Though there are enough books written on CAT, there is no one -- or even two -- book that can give you an overall idea about CAT or the preparation for it. Some books give the CAT papers of the last 10 years, which may be useful to browse and understand the level of difficulty of the exam. Most coaching institutes conduct mock tests and take you through past CAT papers, so no book needs to be bought.
How do I prepare for individual sections?
We have suggested a lot of techniques and strategies for preparation. Lots of reference material is also available on MBA Rendezvous. So, you just go for it!
But before starting to draw any strategy, you need to familiarize yourself with all CAT sections and sub-sections, as well as the variety of questions that feature in each of them.
The objective behind this is very clear – to learn various methods to solve each type of question in the shortest possible time. Get the best results from your preparation
Importance of Solving Previous Years Papers in CAT
The aspirants apply various techniques to prepare for this exam. The best technique out of all is by solving the previous year’s questions papers. By doing so, you can get an idea of the questions that might appear in the paper. This will simply make your CAT 2021 preparation
better and effective.
You can also go for various online mock tests that will not only provide you idea and feel of the actual CAT paper, but will build confidence in you that you can also do it.
One more thing to remember is that CAT IIM papers do not stay the same each year; hence the students must be careful while solving the previous papers. Computer – based CAT has made a few changes in the paper pattern which will not be found in the previous year’s question papers. Aspirants should go through such minor details in order to be on a safer side. Online CAT exams are different from the CAT exams which were earlier given on paper. It is difficult to find the online papers over the internet.
Many coaching institutes for CAT also provide their students with similar papers as CAT. Even though the paper pattern has been changed, CAT results will still come in the same fashion for all students. All students aiming for IIM should always solve the previous year’s papers as it will make their doubts clear regarding the questions during the exam.
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